To define Sufism by words it is like trying to describe honey to those who have never tasted it. Any definition would be partial and inadequate. The words are limited, while Sufism concerns the essence.
Sufism is the yearning for the Divine, His beauty and majesty.
This need of God, inherent in the heart of each one of us is born with man and accompanies him since the beginning of time.
Sufism is nothing but the inner way, the mysticism enclosed within every religion.
Over the centuries it has taken on different forms and aspects, from Adam, the mysticism of Jesus (peace be upon them), through the research of the monks, rishis -in the East- the sages, the hermits of many spiritual paths, to take the current form of the heart of the mystical, ecstatic and peaceful Islam.
The Sufis have always been seekers of truth, and when the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), the latest and the most loving among the prophets, appeared in this world, the Sufi people accepted his form and began to sing his songs, at the rhythm of the heavenly music that enters the heart, and without which they could not live.
Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi says: “We come into the world with a raw heart; you have to cook it to make it soft. ” Then you’ll want to turn to look at your origin, which is God, the source of peace, bliss.
A high heat and a good cook are needed to accomplish the operation. Sufism provides both.
If you give a look at the Way from the outside, you cannot say much is happening. Only if you enter inside, savoring the experience, you can make a long journey whose final goal transpires, joyful and loving, in the glow of the master’s eyes.
Some consider Sufism as a doctrine. They make it the object of their studies and, once they get to mastering its thought, they are convinced that they have become Sufis. They try to reach God with the intellect without ever questioning their daily existence.
Otherwise, the Way of the Sufis – also known simply as dervishes – is first and foremost a radical way of being, not only to believe. It’s a way of life, a profound journey that touches the soul, the heart and as such possesses a force that must penetrate every aspect, visible and invisible of your existence.
You can not become a Sufi and stay as you are. It’s impossible.
The matchless beauty of the architecture and decoration of buildings such as the Taj Mahal, Al Hambra, Ishfahan, the precious motives of carpets and textiles, music, calligraphy, mystical poems are all visible aspects and at the same time invisible work of the Sufi masters throughout the centuries.
It has always been their art, subtle and imperceptible, to weave a message of beauty, harmony and peace that penetrate in the intimate fibers of the society in which they operated, not usually openly fighting the materialistic time system. This is their silent rebellion, the victory of beauty and truth.
The dervish asks the Lord to turn His eyes towards him, He invites him to live in his heart. At the same time he knows that the house should be properly prepared in order to aspire to receive such an important guest. There arose the need for inner work. In fact dervishes, when they refer to the Way, do not usually speak of “Sufism” but rather they call it the “Work.”
Sufism is simply about, love, truth, simplicity, gratefulness, in the deepest sense. It is the opening to live a magic, happy life.
(from: Burhanuddin Herrmann, IL SUFISMO, new edition, Armenia Publishers, Milano, 2015)